Last year 80% of all individual returns were filed electronically. The IRS expects 9 out of 10 individual 2012 returns to be e-filed this year! The IRS confirms that e-filing, when combined with direct deposit, is the fastest way to get a refund. Due to high traffic on the site, the IRS anticipates both the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on www.irs.gov and the refund feature on the “IRS2go phone app” will have limited availability during busier periods. So what should you do…..
Have the right tax information ready before using any of the IRS refund tools. This includes Social Security number, filing status and refund amount.
You don’t need to check “Where’s My Refund?” more than once a day as your information will not change. The online tool is updated nightly!
To avoid system delays, the best time to check on refunds is evening and weekends.
There is no need to call the IRS about your refund; the telephone service has the same information that is available on “Where’s My Refund?”.
Relax… 9 out of 10 taxpayers typically receive refunds in less than 21 days when they use e-file with direct deposit.
Riverwoods, Ill. (March 19, 2013)
By Michael Cohn
As the April 15 tax filing date draws closer, millions of taxpayers still find themselves somewhere between putting the final touches on their tax return and just starting the process.
CCH is offering taxpayers who still hope to beat the clock with some easy tips for making the most of their taxes.
“Because of the delay to this year’s filing season due to last year’s ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations and a lack of early answers pertaining to several specific taxes, many people may now find themselves rushing to get their taxes done,” said CCH principal federal tax analyst Mark Luscombe in a statement. “The risk is that they may make mistakes, or overlook ways to maximize their refund.”
Luscombe offers some easy tips to taxpayers on how to make the final weeks of tax season much less taxing:
• Take advantage of last-minute tax savings. For example, taxpayers can reduce their taxable income by as much as $5,000 or $6,000 if a taxpayer is 50 or older, and meets income requirements. Taxpayers have until April 15, 2013, to contribute to their 2012 IRA.
• Get help! Taxpayers don’t have to go it alone at tax time. Either turn to a professional to help prepare and file the return, or try tax software that will ease and speed the process. These means will also help ensure taxpayers realize the full benefit of the credits and deductions they deserve.
• Double-check the income tax filing before sending. If information is omitted or a mistake is made, the processing of the tax return and/or refund can be delayed. Among common errors, check to ensure all Social Security numbers are correctly entered and that the tax return is signed, either manually (if mailing) or with an electronic PIN (if e-filing).
• E-file the tax return and use direct deposit. The combination of e-filing with direct deposit can mean receiving the tax refund in weeks rather than the months it may take to get a refund check in the mail from the IRS after filing a paper return.
• Adjust the 2013 withholding if taxes were overpaid in 2012. While many like the idea of getting a refund, a large refund may indicate a taxpayer is overpaying taxes throughout the year. By adjusting the withholding, a taxpayer can ensure he or she is not paying too much throughout the year.
The link above is an explanation of the new health care law as it is explained by Wikipedia.
Ever had a desire to read all 2,409 pages of the full health care law?
First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. November 27, 2010 was the first ever Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is the day we celebrate the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. More than 200 organizations have already joined American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday.
For more info: http://
$1.1 Billion in Unclaimed 2007 Tax Refunds
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Did you forget to file your 2007 taxes? The IRS might have a nice check waiting for you.
Nearly 1.1 million taxpayers failed to file that year, and the IRS estimates they are entitled to $1.1 billion in potential refunds.
Half of those who failed to file are owed a refund $640 or more, the agency announced Tuesday. And it could be even more: The median potential 2007 refund for people living in Wyoming was a high $788, while New Hampshire residents are owed a median refund of $741.
“Some people may not have filed because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments,” the IRS said.
But Uncle Sam isn’t holding your money for you much longer.
If you don’t file your 2007 return by April 18, 2011, say goodbye to your refund forever. Taxpayers are only given a three-year window to claim refunds. After that, your money is scooped up by the U.S. Treasury.
If you do decide to finally claim your 2007 refund, remember that your check will be held until the IRS has received your 2008 and 2009 tax returns as well. And, if you owe other federal debts, child support or back taxes, the refund will be applied to those amounts.
In addition to a refund, some Americans may also be missing out on the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps many low- and middle-income taxpayers.
1. Failure to report all taxable income. The IRS receives copies of all 1099s and W-2s and computers match these forms with the income shown on the return. A mismatch is a red flag!.
2. Returns claiming the home-buyer credit. First-time homebuyers and longtime homeowners who claimed the homebuyer credit should be prepared for IRS scrutiny. Submit proper documentation; first-time homebuyers should attach a copy of their settlement statement and longtime homeowners should attach documents showing prior ownership, for example records of property tax and insurance coverage. All claims for this credit are being screened. Remember, the credit is required to be recaptured if the home is sold within three years for homes bought in 2009 or 2010 and within 15 years for homes bought before 2009.
3. Claiming large charitable deductions. Charitable deductions that are disproportionately large compared to reported income, raise a red flag. Reminders: Get an appraisal for donations of valuable property and file Form 8283 for donations over $500.
4. Home office deduction. History has shown that many people who claim a home office don’t meet all the requirements and others may overstate the benefit. In order to take this write-off, the space must be used exclusively and on a regular basis as your principal place of business.
5. Business meals, travel and entertainment. Schedule C filers should be careful when claiming large deductions for meals, travel and entertainment. To qualify for meals or entertainment deductions, detailed records must be kept including the amount, place, persons attending, business purpose and nature of discussion or meeting. Also, receipts are required for expenditures over $75 or any expense for lodging while traveling away from home.
6. Claiming 100% business use of vehicle. It is extremely rare that an individual actually uses a vehicle 100% of the time for business, especially if no other vehicle is available for personal use. Keep detailed mileage logs! Also, be sure not to include actual auto expenses when using the standard mileage rates.
7. Claiming a loss for a hobby activity. It’s a red flag if a Schedule C loss-generating activity sounds like a hobby (horse breeding, car racing). The activity should be run in a business-like manner and for a profit!
8. Cash businesses. Cash-intensive businesses, for example taxi drivers, car washes, bars, hair salons, and restaurants, are targets since they are less likely to accurately report all of their taxable income.
9. Failure to report a foreign bank account. The IRS is intensely interested in people with offshore accounts, especially those in tax havens. Failure to report a foreign bank account can lead to severe penalties. Proper reporting is crucial!
10. Engaging in currency transactions. The IRS receives reports of cash transactions in excess of $10,000 involving banks, casinos, car dealers and other businesses, plus suspicious activity reports from banks and disclosures of foreign accounts. Those making large cash purchases or deposits should be prepared for IRS scrutiny.
11. Math errors. One of the most common reasons for an IRS notice is the simple mathematical mistake on the tax return. Take time to ensure all your calculations are correct to remain under the radar!
12. Taking higher-than-average deductions. Deductions disproportionately large compared to income is a common red flag. Be sure to have proper documentation!
By Aaron Kellly
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama in late September, is designed to tackle America’s continuing high unemployment rate by bolstering that sector of the American economy that has traditionally been responsible for the creation of the most American jobs: the small business sector. Small businesses, defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as any commercial concern with fewer than 500 employees, employ slightly over half of all private sector employees and over the past 15 years have generated close to 65% of all new jobs.
It’s no secret that the recent economic downturn has hit business where it hurts. Even in prosperous times, business formation is a risky endeavor: over half of all small businesses fail within their first year, in part because their owners have an incomplete knowledge of the business law necessary to guide them through business formation. In the year 2008, the first year of the recession, almost as many of these businesses closed as were started, and many of those businesses had been in operation over ten years.
The 2008 $825 billion economic stimulus package contained very few provisions aimed at helping small businesses. The Small Business Jobs Act sought to rectify that situation by extending loan enhancements first put into place by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Among other things, the Recovery Act allowed the SBA to raise the government-backed guarantee on its 7(a) loans to 90% and it also allowed the SBA to waive its $1,000 packaging fee on both its 7(a) loans and its 504 loans.
While loan modifications such as these make SBA loans a more attractive and useful option for entrepreneurs, it also makes the already complicated process of transacting an SBA loan even more complicated. Dealing with the SBA can already be problematic for startups, particularly those involved in non-traditional commercial ventures such as online businesses. In order to take the best advantage of the loan modifications, tax breaks and accelerated pay-outs offered under the new business assistance bill, startups and other businesses would be well advised to engage the services of an experienced business attorney who understands exactly how the Act can aid business formation.
Provisions of the Business Jobs Act
In addition to the loan modifications the Act contains other provisions designed to help small businesses attain access to the capital they need for operations and expansion. These include:
A permanent increase in the size of the maximum loan available under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs from $2 million to $5 million; a corollary increase in the maximum loan amount available through the 504 loan program specifically targeted at manufacturing from $4 million to $5.5 million.
A permanent increase in the microloan cap from $35,000 to $50,000 specifically designed to help entrepreneurs and startups.
A temporary increase in the loan amount available to SBA Express loan recipients from $350,000 to $1 million.
The bill also introduced eight significant tax cuts for small businesses:
The elimination of all capital gains taxes for business investments held five years or over.
An increase in the write off for capital investments from $250,000 in Year One and $25,000 in Year Two to $500,000, and increasing the threshold for these write-offs to $2 million.
An extension of the 50% bonus depreciation through the close of 2010.
A health insurance deduction for the self-employed.
Simplified rules regarding the deduction of cell phones and cell phone-related expenses.
A temporary increase in the deduction for start-up costs from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a ceiling of $60,000.)
For certain businesses, the ability to offset taxes – including the Alternative Minimum Tax – through business credits from the past five years.
A decrease in penalties for tax errors that disproportionately affect businesses and small business owners (particularly sole proprietors.)